by request: star trek (j.j. abrams, 2009)
what i watched last week

shameless: season two finale

Sunday was full of interesting television, at least in my mind, and there’s no way I can get to it all in one post. Mad Men’s second episode of the season was intriguing, even if there wasn’t enough Sally (and Joan never even appeared). Game of Thrones kicked off its second season (about which, more in a future post). And, of course, there was Wrestlemania XXVIII, featuring the return of The Rock.

But I want to say something about Shameless before it gets lost in the shuffle. Like even the best Showtime series, Shameless just misses being a classic. While the adventurous nature of the show’s willingness to switch quickly from comedy to drama is praiseworthy, the transition doesn’t always work well. And a few of the characters border on caricature. But those are just reasons why it’s an A- instead of an A.

In Season Two, Emmy Rossum demonstrated once again why some call her Emmy Awesome. She gives her all to her role, which is reflected in the usual Showtime nudity, but also in the way Rossum uses her face to express an array of emotions. Rossum’s Fiona is the center of the show (despite the nominal acknowledgement that William H. Macy is the “star”), and the show’s raw emotions are perfectly reflected in Rossum’s eyes.

There are so many fine characters in this ensemble series, and so many fine actors playing them, that even though not every episode is top-notch, there is never a bad episode. Add in Chloe Webb, who turned up once again late this season and added raw depths you’d think had already been covered by everyone else on the show, and you have a series that works the audience over the coals, and it feels good.

The Gallaghers are one of the best TV families we have today, and Shameless is a series deserving of such great characters. Last season, I gave the series a B+, and Emmy Rossum an A+. In Season Two, the series started to catch up with its radiant star. Grade for Season Two: A-.